caring-for-husband.jpgEver get one of those patients with the shoe box full of medications or a two page list of the prescriptions the doctors prescribed for them?

Never?

Of course you have! We all have run into these patients. I have always wondered whether the symptoms being experienced are related to the disease process or are due to what I like to call MMO

MMO = Massive Medication Overload

One of the problems is the “better living through chemistry” outlook that the drug industry promotes to the medical community at large. Numerous studies have looked at how drug company marketing in TV, Print, and directly to the physician community have a significant influence on how meds are prescribed. The AMA (American Medical Association) along with other international physician groups have all cautioned against this influence.

So, pardon me if I’m not surprised by the news story I found this week over at Medical News Today that points out just how profitable pharmaceutical marketing programs have become. The survey (as reported by two New York and Toronto marketing firms) of marketing spending by pharmaceutical companies as compared to their spending on research is really insightful. It points out that drug companies spend twice as much on selling their existing products now as they do on developing new products for the future. Let me put that another way for you.

1/2 research = marketing

This seems to directly contradict what the drug companies are telling the public about how financially strapped they are by all of the money they spend on research. It seems to me that they could also make money and find new drug cures, too, by spending more on research into new cures and less on marketing to doctors who are intelligent enough to read a drug fact sheet and keep up with pertinent research findings. I am constantly amazed by companies that tell us one thing while actually doing another.

We’re losing money! vs. Record profits in quarterly reports!

We’re saving lives with new drug 2.0 vs. We kept our patent alive by making a small tweak in drug 1.0 chemistry

Hopefully, this survey will educate people about how the money really pans out. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t fault pharmaceutical companies for making money. I just want them to say what they mean and mean what they say. They have their responsibility only to their shareholders to turn a profit. Not to me, not to the doctors out there, and not to the patients. That’s capitalism and I’m ok with it, just don’t cry about your profits only rising 10 percent this year.

We can’t all be oil companies!

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Want to comment on this article? Leave a comment below or email me at podmedic (AT) nursingshow.com

Jamie, the Podmedic

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